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What are the best and worst banks for customer complaints?

Steve Coleman


This week, consumer magazine Which published research showing which financial brands deal best with customer complaints.

We look at the results here, and identify the steps you can take to reduce – and better tackle – customer problems.

Which financial brands deal with complaints best?

According to the Which research, Saga, Nationwide and Tesco are the best financial brands for dealing with complaints. These results came from a combination of Which’s own customer satisfaction scores and data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), all covering the second half of 2016.

What is the likelihood that problems are handled successfully?

Almost two-thirds (61%) of complaints to financial companies were found to be successful. In other words, the complainant got the outcome they wanted.

This varies widely from firm to firm, though. The lowest success rate reported was just 2% – with 94% the highest.

The table below shows the results of the Which research. A high score equals a good complaints record; a low score means a brand received a high volume of complaints.

The version on their website is interactive – you can search for specific firms and reorder the columns to see how your firm performs.

Which Magazine

Source: Which

How many complaints are upheld?

On average, there is a 61% chance of a complaint to a bank or insurer going in the consumer’s favour.

But this rate varies significantly. Of complaints to Danske Bank, only 18% are successful, compared to 77% at Lloyds. 

When issues are escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), similar variations are seen.

Overall, 36% of all complaints to the FOS result in a decision in favour of the consumer – but this ranges from 72% against Aviva to just 4% against Coventry Building Society.

The latest FCA data, published in April, shows that 60% of complaints made to the financial regulator were upheld.

 What do consumers complain about?

The FCA data, which we wrote about in detail when it was released, showed that:

  • PPI remains the most complained-about product (895,110 complaints)
  • Current accounts received c. 514,000
  • Credit cards received approximately 313,000
  • Motor and transport insurance received over 220,000
  • Packaged back accounts – which were subject to a regulatory thematic review in 2016 – were complained about by 172,000 people

General administration and customer service issues cause 40% of all grievances. ‘Advising, selling and arranging’ comes close second, accounting for 39%.

How can you improve customer satisfaction?

Our Compliance Guide to Financial Promotions has more advice and guidance on producing compliant financial promotions and communications.  

It includes information on:

  1. 1. What constitutes a financial promotion?

  2. 2. What is a ‘real time” or “non-real time” financial promotion’ and how do they differ?

  3. 3. Why are financial promotions so heavily regulated?

  4. 4. Is social media a viable medium?

  5. 5. Financial promotions policy standards

  6. 6. Training and competency requirements

  7. 7. Management information

  8. 8. Record retention

  9. 9. Specialist areas

You can download a free copy of the Compliance Guide here.

Compliance Guide to Financial Promotions

Topics: Compliance

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